Heart of the Matter

Dr. Sunil Kapoor talks with You & I
How did you become one of Hyderabad and India’s leading cardiologists?
It took a lot of education, in both India and the US, where I studied at prestigious institutions like Harvard Medical School and Stanford University. It also took many long hours of focused hard work over many years. I’ve always believed in keeping up-to-date and staying on the cutting edge of leading technology, and I was fortunate that my work was recognised. I was awarded as one of the world’s ten most challenging case operators by TCT (USA). The American College of Cardiology has also awarded me with membership, and I am an international invited faculty in the organisation.
Tell us about your role as founding member of Care Hospitals.
The Care Group of Hospitals was started as a single unit in Nampally, and has since grown by leaps and bounds. Today the group has 16 hospitals in nine cities across India, and has become one of the biggest and fastest-growing such brands in the country. It offers care in over 30 specialities, with treatment on par with the best in the world. My role has been to see that the best possible care is provided to every patient.
What are your thoughts on the growth and development of cardiology?
Cardiovascular medicine has been extensively researched, and it has moved forward at a great speed. New technology has been developed that contributes to reducing death rates from heart attacks or heart failure. All this has helped increase the lifespan of humans from 47 to 75 – a whopping growth of 28 years!
What is the most common problem you come across?
That would be angina or myocardial infarction. As I am a tertiary care specialist, most of the patients who are referred to me are in an advanced state of disease, and require either angioplasty or bypass surgery. I wish more people would take care of themselves and have regular check-ups, so that we can prevent this from happening.
Dr. Sunil Kapoor cardiologists 
What about the rarest conditions?
The rarest of rare cases are some infiltrative types of cardiomyopathy, which are going around as heart failure patients with breathlessness. More education is required for such people to come in for early check-ups, so that advanced heart failure can be avoided.
Can you share some of your top tips for a healthy lifestyle?
Inculcate regular habits, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and consume fewer carbohydrates and fats. In addition, it’s important cut back on salt, exercise regularly, sleep well, and have an annual check-up (we get our cars serviced regularly, and we should apply that to ourselves!). And of course, smoking is a big no-no!
Do you have any advice for aspiring doctors?
Yes, be prepared for a lot of hard work.
What do you do in your free time?
I enjoy music and spend my free time listening to it. Nowadays, I have an interest in researching anti-ageing.
Let’s talk about your kids. Are you still able to spend time with them?
I don’t get much time to spend with them now, as they are quite busy in their own professions. Right now, it’s a busy time for all of us.
So what’s the secret to being a good father?
You have to be a good friend to them.
Is there anything you do that your parents didn’t?
I was always close to my parents growing up, and it is from them that I’ve learnt to be a good friend to my children. This helps make our relationships healthier and more personal.    

..... as told to Niharika